Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dutchess’ Reach

It’s known that Dutchess has a reputation.  She’s recognized.  She makes all moments at and outside the winery memorable.  People know her.  How known she is became apparent to me this one time I was over in Napa with some friends, doing some tasting and enjoying a rare day off.  We were at a tasting room on the main drag there on 29, finishing up a tasting and walking to our car.  Unexpectedly, we were approached by a couple, and they stopped right in front of us, saying, “Oh my god, that’s Dutchess from Dutcher Crossing!” The friends I was with couldn’t believe it.  They thought I staged the whole thing.  I mean, there we were in Napa and some people I’d never seen before come up to us, make a scene of seeing Dutchie.  I double-checked what I had on, and I was not logo’d.  No bicycle gear, no winery logos anywhere.  This was a real, genuine greeting.  They couldn’t help themselves, they had to say hi, and it warmed my heart.

We go to another winery, and the exact same thing happens.  “Come on, Deb,” my friends say, insinuating I put this in place, that I knew these people.  And, again, no I didn’t.  It was Dutchess they recognized.  It was Dutchess that go the reaction.  They know she’s the Dutcher Crossing dog, but have no idea who I am.  None.  For all they know I’m a dog-sitter or something.  But I think more about it, and that’s just the way I want it.  Dutchess puts off the exact vibe I want the winery to.  Laid-back, relax, inviting…  She’s the center of attention, always, and it’s easy to see why.  There’s nothing superficial about her, and she has that same attitude we do back home in Wisconsin—  ‘Welcome to our house, nice to meet you, enjoy yourself…’ I smile when people approach her like this, randomly, or at the winery when I’m brought out by one of the staff to say hello to new or longtime members.  I’m passed by, while Dutchie is given endless hugs and pets, love and attention.  This is just how I want it.  She deserves it.  She welcomes it.  Dutchess is the atmosphere of the winery— laid-back, inviting, loving.  The guests can’t enough of her, and I love it, just as I love her.


Her reputation always astounds me.  Yes, it happens around the Dry Creek AVA, but to see her fame stretch all the way over the hill to Napa, is somewhat surprising.  I would even say ‘humbling’.  She’s more known in Napa than I am in Dry Creek.  This would have to be one of the greatest lessons to be learned from Dutchess, to enjoy the moment, that nothing’s more important than now.  People that meet her notice this as well, that she’s all about the current moment, that she’s focused on you when you meet her.  Since moving out here to wine country, and having Dutch’ in my life, I’ve been motivated to further appreciate where I am and the journey on which Dad and I set out over ten years ago.  Every time she’s recognized outside Dry Creek, be it in Napa or somewhere else in Sonoma, I’m reminded how lucky I am to be out here, living this life, and sharing Dutchess’ positive energy with you when you visit. 

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